Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps: ‘Referendum result must be respected’
PUBLISHED: 15:29 25 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 25 January 2017
Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has said he will vote for Britain to leave the EU, and avoid backing any attempt to keep it inside the Single Market.
After the Supreme Court yesterday confirmed its earlier ruling that Parliament must be consulted, the Welwyn Hatfield Times asked Mr Shapps whether he would vote to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and whether he might back opposition amendments.
Although Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged not to oppose the bill, which could be tabled as soon as tomorrow, opposition MPs are likely to propose a host of amendments to preserve aspects of Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Mr Shapps replied: “I was a Remain voter at the in/out referendum, but back in June the British people, as well as Welwyn Hatfield constituency, voted to leave the EU.
“I believe it is therefore right for the Government to deliver on their verdict – triggering Article 50, as planned, by the end of March.
“I always thought it was sensible to allow Parliament plenty of time to debate the issue.
“We have already voted on it twice, first providing for the referendum and then just before Christmas voting to allow for Article 50.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament must have a third vote to explicitly move Article 50.
“I will obviously vote to allow for that to happen. It’s important to remember that Parliament backed the referendum by a margin of six to one and has already indicated its support for getting on with the process of exit to the timetable already set out.
“Rather than talking in terms of a hard or soft Brexit, I think what most people now want to see is a Brexit which works in Britain’s interests.
“[It should] allow us to keep jobs in the UK, build a better economy and provide chances to our young people, who will doubtless want to engage in the wider world.
“I believe that we should be the world’s most outward-looking nation, capable of trading anywhere in the world and always trying to reduce tariffs and barriers to free trade.
“However, this cannot be achieved by ignoring the result of the referendum so I don’t believe that this is compatible with staying in the Single Market, which appears to specifically rule out control over our own borders.
“So we need to negotiate the best possible deal with Europe, but accept that our destiny is to also trade more with the 7billion people who don’t happen to live on this continent too.”
Mr Shapps added that he intends to propose his own amendment - not to the Article 50 bill, but to the Prime Minister’s proposed bill to incorporate EU legislation into British law.
He said: “I think this is a good idea, but I would make a couple of amendments.
“I intend to propose a change in that law which will attach a so called ‘Sunset Clause’ of 10 years.
“This will mean that within the next ten years after we leave the EU, Parliament would need to go through every piece of EU legislation and decide whether we wish to keep or amend it.
“I would exclude legislation relating to environmental and workers’ protection from this process, however.
“Most EU law has not been scrutinised by Parliament and I believe that by going back through everything we will find large amounts of redtape and petty bureaucracy that we can remove, thereby gaining a Brexit dividend from leaving the EU.”